Monday, 25 February 2013

CAU, Cambridge, UK

You might think it's unusual for me to be quite excited about the opening of somewhere that specialises in Argentinian steak. But as a non-meat eater I've realised that places like that often have an excellent range of side dishes that I am more than happy to tuck into (see Byron Burger, which appears to be coming to Cambridge soon- woo!). Anyway, when I was invited along to try out CAU, which has recently opened in the centre of town, I thought it was worth giving a go.

CAU is situated in part of the old Barclays bank site on Benet Street, and has a modern funky design. It's not in the main part of the old bank though, so it looks like we're going to have to wait a while longer to see what's become of those amazing ceilings. Anyway, this (currently) mini-chain sells itself on its range of meat, but in fact has quite a wide-ranging and eclectic menu. We kicked off with starters of salt and pepper squid and some vaguely Asian steamed mussels, which were both excellent. The squid (though a rather small portion) was light and crispy, and the mussels were perfectly cooked in their coconut broth.

I tried the aubergine lasagne for my main course, while the Male Companion Person went for the lomito medallions (I don't really know what that means but it was basically some pieces of steak). My veggie dish was aubergine parmigiana by another name, and very good it was too; densely packed with soft aubergine and enough cheese to add a bit of richness and crunch on top.

My 'lasagne' looks a bit burnt in this picture, and though it was on the path to well caramelised it wasn't actually overdone.

The meat was described as "pretty tasty" by the MCP, who is not known for being effusive.  A side order of chips, which were akin to slimline roast potatoes, were also rather good. We finished things off with some churros for me, and a cornflake ice cream sundae for the MCP. Despite the churros being dusted in quite a lot of sugar, the dark chocolate sauce meant that overall they weren't too sweet. I can't comment much on the sundae, as I only got to try a bit before it rapidly disappeared.

So overall I quite liked CAU. Between us, we sampled a range of seafood, meat and veggie dishes which were all very acceptable, and the service was efficient and friendly without being intrusive. Our bill for three courses each, and a couple glasses of wine, would have been somewhere around the £60 mark, so not excessive. CAU is not destination dining, (and isn't claiming to be), but it's somewhere I'd be happy to go back to for a casual lunch. And having a souce of churros in Cambridge can only be a good thing.

15 Benet Street
Cambridge CB2 3QN

Thanks to the nice people at CAU and their PR person for providing me and the Male Companion Person with our dinner for free and gratis.


grimblefish said...

As the MCP mentioned in this post, I can confirm that the steak was flavourful and all the food was highly acceptable. I liked the manager bloke too, who was very jolly and accommodating, despite not being entirely convinced that we were who we said we were, or in fact that they had arranged a booking for us at all.

TheFastestIndian said...

Errr, yeah, that was a bit odd. But things improved quite a bit when we convinced them we weren't randoms.